STORY OF THE SINO-JAPANESE WAR 371
success of the Chinese guerrillas organized by the Communist leaders (the Eighth Route Army) with their ten years of experience has already been proved, Chiang's stubbornness was proved by the fact thats after the fall of Nanking, the soft, "shaky" leaders in the Central Political Council at Hankow were ready to talk peace, and only when Chiang arrived did the morale pick up and the determination to fight to the bitter end was reaffirmed. But I have told the story of Chiang's "anti-communist complex" also because it made him commit the one mistake of policy in all those years and pass by the opportunity of making a definite alliance with Russia in 1935, which would have prevented the war.
So much depends on the quality and strategy of Chiang's leadership in this war of liberation that it is important to review Chiang's personal point of view in coming to the decision of fighting Japan in a major war, and his plan and attitude once the decision was made. I think he has calculated every step correctly, and his able and far-sighted understanding of the nature of the war to be fought has compelled my admiration as worthy of a great national leader in a great national crisis. His mental sagacity and moral qualities were and are equal to the situation.
After the Lukouch'iao incident on July yth, 1937, Chiang still hesitated and tried to avoid a major war, not because he was cowardly, but because he saw more clearly than any other man in China what this struggle was going to mean. Japan desired to treat this as a "localized war" so that it would be a simpler task for her to eat up the little army of a warlord than to eat up the entire national army of China, and consequently stated that she would regard the sending of Central Government Troops as "a hostile act" against Japan! Chiang sent his troops up to Paotingfu as a bluff to the Chinese people, but strictly forbade them to attack, while Japan during those three weeks was moving up soldiers, tanks and ammunition along the Peiping-Tientsin Railway with complete freedom from molestation, and had entrenched on three sides of Peiping before the so-called "fighting" began. Chiang sensed perhaps that a war was inevitable, but still refrained from allowing the Central troops to be involved. He called a conference of all